Afterplay by Brian Friel and Ashes to Ashes by Harold Pinter

Spare Stage presents two challenging and complex one-act plays.

Afterplay is an original work featuring two Chekhovian characters who meet twenty years later. Sonya from Uncle Vanya, “re-animated and re-conceived,” and Andrew Prozorov from The Three Sisters meet in a shabby Moscow cafe just after 1920. They are now middle-aged but, despite all they have experienced, have kept almost all their youthful characteristics. Sonya is still hard-working and hopelessly in love, trying to save what can be saved from the family estate in new and unkind times. The dreams and fantasies of both characters keep colliding with cruel reality, and even though they realized long ago that they have spent their lives in the waiting room of life, they can’t do anything but collect pieces of consolation that help continue the illusion so that, for a while, they can live again.

Actors (Murphy/Samson) and director Stephen Drewes have fully realized the production, and given an admirable treatment of challenging subject matter.” – Albert Goodwyn, San Francisco Bay Times

In Ashes to Ashes a man interrogates a woman about her lover and involvement in wartime atrocities. The woman is haunted by appalling memories: genocide, deportation, and most disturbingly, a tenderly recalled masochistic-erotic relationship with a modern Herod-like infanticide. In fact, she may never have experienced these things.

Playwright Afterplay by Brian Friel
Ashes to Ashes by Harold Pinter
Venue Exit Theatre
Address 156 Eddy Street, San Francisco
Director Stephen Drewes
Cast Aaron Murphy
Mary Samson
Other Credits Cynthia Brinkman, Stage Manager
Courtney Conley, Costumes
Abbie Zimmerman, Set / Props
Tyler Null, Lighting / Sound Design
February 20 – March 1, 2008

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Brian Friel (Playwright) was born in January 1929, near Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland. He was a playwright who explored social and political life in Ireland and Northern Ireland as he delved into family ties, communication and mythmaking as human needs, and the tangled relationships between narrative, history, and nationality.  Friel was educated at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth (1948), and St. Mary’s Training College, Belfast (1949–50), and he taught school in Londonderry for 10 years. After The New Yorker began regular publication of his stories, he turned to writing full-time in 1960, issuing short stories and radio and stage plays. After a six-month tutelage at the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., in 1963, he wrote his first dramatic success, Tony Award-nominated (1966) Philadelphia, Here I Come! After writing The Loves of Cass McGuire (1966), the Tony-nominated Lovers (1967), Crystal and Fox(1968), and The Mundy Scheme (1969), Friel turned more to political themes in such plays as The Freedom of the City (1973), Volunteers (1975), Living Quarters (1977), and Making History (1988). Other notable plays include Aristocrats (1979), Translations (1979), and Dancing at Lughnasa (1990; 1998 film), which earned a Laurence Olivier Award (1991) and a Tony (1992) for best play.  Beginning in the early 1980s he adapted the works of Anton Chekhov, including Uncle Vanya (1998), The Yalta Game (2001, based on Chekhov’s story “The Lady with a Lapdog”), and The Bear (2002). In 2008 he presented an adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler. Friel cofounded (with actor-director Stephen Rea) the Field Day Theatre Company in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

Stephen Drewes (Director) a fifth-generation San Franciscan, accepted his first directing assignment in 1975 for The People’s Theatre in Cambridge, MA. He has since directed more than 85 productions in every genre from children’s theatre to grand opera. He has been a member of the faculty at Middlebury College, Boston University, and Colgate, and taught at CCSF for twenty years. He was Artistic Director of the Publick Theatre in Cambridge MA, where three of his productions won Boston Critics Awards for Direction. He was also resident stage Director for Pocket Opera. He co-founded Spare Stage in 2008, and won a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for his direction of THE UNEXPECTED MAN in 2009.

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